All-weather performer – the 2020 Subaru Legacy
When drivers think of mid-size sedans, typically the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima rush to mind. Few think of the Subaru Legacy. What a shame. The Subaru Legacy is a stylish mid-size family sedan that may not have the sales number as the others but does have a strong following in the snow belt states thanks to its excellent all-weather capability.
For 2020, Subaru has redesigned the Legacy. It’s still recognizable as a Subaru, although it takes on a bit of an athletic physique with its new flared fenders. And an all-new interior, dominated by a huge, optional 11.6-inch touchscreen is sure to attract some attention.
As it has been since 1993, every Legacy is equipped with a symmetrical all-wheel drive system as a standard feature. And that’s really where the Subaru differentiates itself from other cars in this class. The all-wheel drive system allows for excellent in-climate weather traction all the time – there are no buttons to push or levers to pull. Drivers can rest assured that the Legacy will respond automatically to the road’s surface, no matter what it may be. It just can’t get any easier than this.
Most Legacys will continue to be powered by a 2.5-liter flat-four engine that is good for 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. The two XT models get a new engine – a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. The new engine outperforms the engine it replaced – last year’s 3.6-liter flat-six that made 256 hp and 246 lb-ft of torque. A continuously variable automatic transmission is standard with both engines.
The tester I am in this week is a well-equipped Legacy Premium with the base 2.5 four-cylinder. The Premium sits above the Base model in the lineup, and comes with alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, the 11.6-inch touchscreen (the Base uses a smaller 7-inch) and heated front seats (with the driver’s seat also being powered). Move up to the Sport and the Legacy is fitted with different exterior styling enhancements and red stitching. The Limited adds on LED headlights, leather interior, rear air vents and rear heated seats and a 12-speaker Harmon-Kardon sound system. The Limited XT is the same, but with the new turbocharged engine. If you want the ultimate Legacy, it comes in the way of the Touring XT, which receives ventilated front seats and upgraded leather throughout the cabin.
Along with all-wheel drive, every Legacy is fitted with Subaru’s EyeSight, a combination of driver aids that includes adaptive cruise control, lane centering, automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning. EyeSight warnings are projected on a heads-up display projected on the windshield.
Driving the Legacy isn’t very exciting, but that’s all-right as the Legacy continues to be a fine driver as is. Power from the flat-four cylinder is adequate – until you step on it and nothing happens. Most drivers will be OK with this, but if you like a little action when you step on the go pedal, opt for the turbocharged engine.
The interior is a no-nonsense design – it’s simple and straight-forward, but not cheap for a moment. Every control, button and switch is well-placed and within five minutes of entering the Legacy, it feels like home. It’s not fancy, but at the same time, it doesn’t try to be. Simplistic is the name of the game here.
One can get into a 2020 Legacy for as little as $23,000 for the Base while the Touring XT tops out right around the $36,000 mark. Along with the Premium trim, the tester had a $2,600 package that included blind spot detection, keyless access and push-button start, LED foglights, a moonroof and a navigation system, bringing the total price to $28,490. No matter how you look at it, the Legacy delivers the best bang for your buck in the new car market.
Subaru knows the Legacy will never be a real threat to Accord and Camry buyers. And that’s fine. Because the Legacy shines in its own little niche of being the mid-size go-to sedan that can tackle any road condition that enters its path.
– Christopher A. Randazzo
By The Numbers:
2020 Subaru Legacy Premium
Base Price: $24,995.00
Price as Tested: $28,490.00
Layout: front-engine / all-wheel drive
Engine: 2.5 liter horizontally-opposed 4-cylinder
Transmission: CVT automatic
Horsepower: 182 hp
Torque: 176 ft-lbs torque
EPA Fuel Economy: 27 city / 35 highway mpg
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